Three straight losses. Five interceptions in his last two games. Down 21-14 in the 4th quarter against a defense/secondary that had already beaten the likes of Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers this year. This was the situation Dolphin’s rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill found himself in on Sunday.
Just goes to show how fast things can change in the NFL. Three weeks ago the Dolphins were at the top of the AFC wild card race and were crushing people’s expectations. Then all of a sudden, 3 weeks later, with 8 minutes left in the 4th quarter, they are looking at a 4 straight loss.
Ryan Tannehill had other ideas though. Tannehill promptly drove the Dolphins down the field 80 yards in 6 plays, capped by a 29 yd pass to FB Charles Clay, to tie the game. Then, after a big stop by the Miami defense, Tannehill took the Dolphins 65 yards in 1:32 to set up Dan Carpenter for the game winning field goal.
Now, instead of 4-7, the Dolphins were all of a sudden 5-6. Instead of suffering their 4th straight loss, they were celebrating what might have been their most impressive win of the year.
More importantly, though, they saw exactly what they needed to see from their rookie, 1st round draft pick, quarterback. Facing a very good secondary, coming off some very poor performances, Tannehill showed great poise and confidence in the Dolphins comeback win. Even though his final numbers, 253 yards with a touchdown and an interception, weren’t anything special, his overall performance was. Against a defense that has stopped both Rodgers and Brady on game tying drives in the 4th quarter this year, Tannehill was masterful.
In the end, whether this win puts the Dolphins back in the playoff hunt or not is beside the point (most likely not, especially with 2 games remaining against New England). Sunday was about more than this year. Sunday was about Ryan Tannehill showing the Dolphins glimpses of what their future could look like.
And if you’re the Dolphins, you have to be very encouraged/excited about what you saw from your new franchise quarterback.
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